City of Laredo to cut off EMS assistance to Rio Bravo and El Cenizo
A letter from the city of Laredo to the mayors of Rio Bravo and El Cenizo has them looking for EMS and first response services within their annual budgets; this after the decision to cut off assistance from the city of Laredo to those cities.
City officials say they would love to be able to continue to assist these small cities but it’s a liability for Laredo to continue to do so.
"It’s been very concerning, its been our major challenge and our biggest headache and we're trying to implement some sort of system which makes it very difficult for a small town with a $300,000 annual budget," Raul Reyes, mayor of El Cenizo.
Reyes says their city wants to be able to provide all EMS services to their people but its almost impossible because they hardly have anything to work with.
The city of el Cenizo has one operating fire truck, so come January first they say they're ready to combat any type of fire. When it comes to emergency medical response, such as people suffering from a heart attack or a gunshot wound, they say they're definitely not ready for those.
For years residents have been getting the help they need by dropping off patients at the speedy stop on 83, outside of El Cenizo city limits, so Laredo emergency responders pick them up for treatment.
That is specifically addressed in Tuesday’s letter and will no longer be allowed.
City Manager Carlos Villarreal says attending to people who do not pay Laredo taxes becomes a liability for the city:
“It’s expensive because we're sending sometimes fire engines and ambulances, taking up gas. It’s a long way out there, but at the same time one of the more important items here is that we're leaving areas under-covered. That means we do not have the necessary people or the necessary equipment to be able to respond to an emergency."
He goes on to say, "I understand the concern of the City Manager, but my concern is that we haven't been able to meet to discuss this issue to see if maybe we can go into agreement with the city of Laredo to pay them a monthly cost so there are a lot of options that haven't been discussed."
Villarreal says both Rio Bravo and El Cenizo were briefed in October that this would be coming.
"Morally we'd love to do it but our primary responsibility is the taxpayer of the city of Laredo."
Mayor Reyes will be holding an emergency meeting next week to discuss a plan of action for El Cenizo.
Chief of the Laredo Fire Department Steve Landin says an exception will be made for Sheriff Deputies and Border Patrol agents patrolling in the Rio Bravo and El Cenizo areas, if needed they will get emergency response from the city of Laredo.